Ways to Build Loyalty and Increase Sales in Retail
Increase Sales and Build Loyalty with "Mulitple-Purchase Programs"
One simple way to increase the number of times a customer buys from you during the year is to create “multiple-purchase programs.” These programs generate more income and even better… predictable recurring income. That’s right, more money flowing into your business in predictable amounts on predictable dates without any extra marketing or sales costs to you.
Cash flow and profit heaven!
The Automatic Ship Program
With this method, your retail customer agrees to buy a particular product at an agreed time interval (weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly)... forever! Well, not really forever, but on-going until they cancel the standing order. You ship the product and automatically charge your customer's credit card at the time you ship.
This kind of program is a way to increase sales in retail that works very well for products that are used up quickly or need to be replaced periodically – vacuum sweeper bags, coffee, yo-yo strings, furniture polish, and the like.
Even luxury type items can work in this kind of multiple-purchase program. A customer could put together a case of their favorite wines and have it shipped once a month. A cigar store could send a box of favorite cigars once a month – or even better, one box of favorites and one box of "owner picks" cigars.
The wonderful thing about this kind of program is that you usually shorten up the normal buying cycle. For example, you know that customers need a new bottle of furniture polish every three months, but they often don't make it into your store to get it for four months or more. Situation: they are out of polish, the furniture is getting dried out, but they just don't have time or keep forgetting to stop by to get more. (At least that's how things go at MY house!) Worst case scenario, they stop polishing their furniture all together or start using cheap grocery store polish because it's more convenient.
Ship the polish at three month intervals and you'll sell an extra bottle of polish every year to every customer in the program – and keep them using your high-quality, furniture-protecting polish for life. By shipping automatically you're providing a great customer service and selling more products.
We strongly recommend that you give your customer an easy way to "opt out" of the standing order. Nothing will frustrate your customer more than seeing a charge every month for a product they don't want. Not a good way to nurture a long term relationship!
You could, however, give your customers an incentive, like a lower price or an extra month free, to sign up and pay for a year or more in advance. You get cash in the bank now for products you'll be buying and shipping a year from now.
“Item of the Month” Bundles
Think Harry and David's "Fruit of the Month" or Martha Stewart's "Flower of the Month" club.
These kinds of multiple-purchase programs are simply a pre-bundled set of products shipped out to the customer over a defined number of months – 3 months, 6 months, 12 months. The customer pays once, in advance, and you ship in installments. Because they are finite in time "item of the month" bundles make great gifts.
Item of the month bundles are great for sampling multiple colors, flavors, scents, and varieties.
Traditional gift stores might set up a "Candle of the Month" or an "Incense of the Month" club. Specialty food stores could create a "Pasta of the Month," "Cheese of the Month," "Hot Sauce of the Month" or "Spice of the Month" programs. Of course in some cases you might do an "Item of the Week" club. Florists could offer a "Bouquet of the Week" or "Fresh Flower of the Week."
Or maybe a seasonal club is a better fit. For example, kitchen or home décor stores could send a complete table setting (placemats / tablecloth, napkins, napkin rings, centerpiece) once a quarter – in a theme for the season. Summer might be Independence Day red, white and blue, or a BBQ theme, or a picnic theme, or a nautical theme.
Think for a minute about what this would mean for your buying, not to mention the way it increases your sales in retail. You'd know exactly what to buy (whatever you picked for your quarterly table setting package) and exactly how much of it to buy (however many people are in your "club"). Guaranteed 100% sell-thru and almost immediate turnover!
This kind of "bundled products club" also works extremely well for collectible products. You could send a new collectible item four times a year or whenever they are released from the manufacturer.
Some collectible items you carry come with this feature built-in, like the amazing Webkinz "Pet of the Month." If you're lucky enough to have something like this in your store, start a club to promote it! One of our favorite local ice-cream stores features the Webkinz "Pet of the Month" at a special price for club members and promotes it in her email newsletter. You can bet that kids who come in for their specially-priced toy also leave with an ice cream cone in hand!
Automatically Scheduled Appointments
This kind of multiple-purchase program is absolutely great if you provide services for your retail customers in addition to products. Floor covering shops often clean carpets, bike shops do repairs and tune ups, pool dealers do annual maintenance, home décor stores offer interior design services.
Don't make the customer remember that it's time to get their car detailed or spruce up their living room – set it up in advance.
It's simple: when you perform the service ask the customer if they would like to sign up for a recurring automatic appointment for the service. Tell them there is no obligation and that you will call a week in advance to confirm the appointment and make sure the time is convenient for them.
So often all the customer needs is a little nudge, a reminder from you that it's time for a bike tune up, or a carpet cleaning. Your income from services will skyrocket when you get your appointments on an automatic schedule.
If you're not trying some kind of multiple-purchase program, you're definitely leaving money on the table, so get one going in your store today!
If you are looking for more ways to increase sales in retail, check out the Marketing Kit from the great resources available in the Retail Mastery System. It is filled with tactics to help inprove your sales and increase customer loyalty.Wishing you great sales and lots of fun,